Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"How is it with Two?"

I was pretty scared to add a second baby to our life. Well, I wasn't scared to get pregnant. But once I got closer to the end of the pregnancy, and my VBAC fears were taking over my entire existence, I was becoming more and more terrified to go straight from giving birth, to having a baby. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to handle that stress, after all the other stress I had endured.
I had also heard a lot of scary stories about how hard it was to have two kids.
I figured my days of sleep were OVER, for YEARS.
And I also was pretty nervous to see how Jasmine would respond to the new one. I was pretty worried she would hate sharing me with the new baby. I envisioned a lot of craziness.
And I also didn't know how I would have any time to just love on the new baby.

After Ruby was born, when my mom was heading out the door to go back to IL (after a week of helping me,) and I was about to be fending for myself with two little ones here in IA... I cried. I am not sure I had ever been so scared. (Ok. That's a hard sentence to use since I was pretty VBAC-hoping-horrified through my entire pregnancy. But this was a new kind of scared. An empty hallow scared. A scared where I was alone, but with two!)

After the first day of purposefully taking very deep breaths. And the in-between from here to there...
I've come to the conclusion that for me, adding a second baby was not as hard as adding the first baby.

For one thing, I seriously cannot believe how blessed I am with Ruby. She is such a sweet, sweet little girl who is full of smiles - so all encompassing - that every time she smiles (which is often) I ask, "How did I end up with such a wonderful girl? I do not deserve this."
She is really easy going -- Almost always happy or peaceful. And a great sleeper.

{I am constantly claiming God's undeserved grace on all that she is. Because I know if I were to have "earned" a baby during my pregnancy, I wouldn't have gotten this one. I would have gotten a terrified and sad, fitful baby --- based on how I felt for those 42 weeks.}

Also, Jasmine has been an awesome big sister. She really truly seemed to understand I had a baby in my belly, and she bonded with Ruby at first sight. (When I think back on my last days of this pregnancy spent with Jasmine, I can see now that she really was anticipating a baby, and she really was talking to her.) She still talks about how "she came out" and how happy we were, and how we waited for her. Jasmine loves to check on Ruby, and help me take care of her. Jasmine loves to "burp-a-her" after she eats (which consists of Jasmine sweetly patting Ruby on the butt ,while I pat her back.) And she loves to give her the pacifier. She loves to tell her "Don't cry. Its ok." All sorts of sweet sweet things like that.

So, truly the girls are making my job easy.

But also,
there are a lot of nice perks to having experience under my/our belts.

We are already parents. Our freedom has already been removed. :) (Why not be tied down the same exact amount that we already are, with another kid?) And there isn't the whole awkward transition between friends-with-out-kids and us since we now do have a kid, this time.

We have a kid-friendly daily routine in place already.
I remember after Jasmine was born, just feeling at a loss as to how to function all the time. And trying to get a good bedtime routine for Jasmine together, with me and Blake putting her down, when she was a few months old. (It felt awkward to us to implement because she was so young still and we didn't feel like she really could care less, but we wanted to get good stuff started with reading bedtime story and praying.)

With the confusion of being new parents it was kinda strained between Blake and I at times.
Now we have our parenting style worked out (at least up to the two year old stage.) So we are more helpful to each other this time around.

As far as things with me:
I feel almost no pressure to "bounce back" from pregnancy this time. (You might think I am lying, since I'm blogging my weight loss...but I'm actually doing the blogging because I feel no pressure! I need to put some pressure on.)
I have peace knowing it happens, when it happens for me. I'm not trying to compare to anyone this time.
I also feel so much more free to just be messy in the early days. (Messy hair, messy clothes, messy house.) Not like an excuse to do nothing, but just a sense of what is doable. And just being ok with that.
No more unreal expectations I found in a magazine.

I'm less worried about every little thing (I still get worried, but much much less) because I have a feel for what's normal and what's not.

I also like that the house isn't so quiet since there is a toddler, in the baby mix. I didn't really like the super quiet moments of sleep time when Jasmine was a baby -- made me feel overly concerned with keeping it quiet. Since Ruby only knows a life with J in existence, she just accepts all the sounds from her, and it makes my life easier that she doesn't mind some racket when I go to do the dishes and things.
Plus I don't get that lonely "now-what-do-I-do?" feeling during nap time. I used to feel really lonely and strange while Jasmine was down. But now, instead have a list of a million things to get done vs. taking a nap -- but always first and foremost EAT!... But I actually like that feeling better than the nervous loneliness I used to get.

And a big thing I keep mulling over is the fact that I no longer get caught up in the thought of "Am I doing this right?" (Well at least with Ruby --- I still question stuff with Jasmine, since the two year old stage is still new to me. Poor oldest child!)
But like with: sleep, and pacifiers, and nursing, and such... I don't constantly question myself. In fact I rarely question it.
With Jasmine it was so hard for me not to worry I was somehow ruining her by doing something one way vs. another way. But now I can see that Jasmine turned into who she is regardless of if I did that nap right or not. So with Ruby, I'm all for just doing what works without worrying.

And I have less wiggle room in finding what works. I didn't like to let Jasmine cry a lot when she was tiny. (And I don't like letting Ruby cry either.) But sometimes Ruby has to cry because I can't be in tow places at once and sometimes that turns into a really cool thing, like when Ruby falls asleep on her own while Jasmine is with me getting put down for her nap, and then I get free time during nap time. (That wouldn't have happened in the world-of-no-crying I used to run.) And I think that since Ruby is used to "fending for herself" (as far as a baby can) at times, she is pretty relaxed in most instances.
(And just so you know I'm fair, sometimes its Jasmine's turn to cry while Ruby nurses and Jasmine wanted all my attention but I can't give it. Although that doesn't happen much anymore because Jasmine's gotten much much better at this big sister thing in two months' time.)

Which leads me to the thought of, how I don't think about the "mommy wars" anymore. All the: attachment parenting vs. crying it out...cloth vs. disposable...stay at home vs. working...bottle vs. breast...weaning vs. extended nursing...etc.
I just don't think about it.
Last time I was sure everyone was watching my every move and judging it. And I was sure there had to be a "right way" and I wanted to find it.
This time I don't think anyone is watching, and if they are, I don't mind. I've decided that everyone has to do what works for them, and since it works, its the right way.
And I don't mind if their way is not my way.
Its very freeing.
I think once I had a second baby, it was easy for me to see how every baby is unique, so the very idea of finding a once-size-fits-all-mold for any part of babyhood isn't really attainable.
I wish I could have had this peace on stuff the first time around.

     {I do get a little more sad than I used to, to hear moms state things (mainly online) that make it sound like choices outside of their own are wrong.(It actually doesn't happen much, but it does happen.) I guess I used to get contemplative and/or defensive when I would hear that kind of thing. Now I just feel grieved --- for two reasons: 1) It makes me sad that they feel like they need to bash other people who are trying, just as hard as they are, to love their children. 2) It makes me sad that they probably are not feeling the peace that comes with a less judgmental stance. But even if it makes me sad to hear/read I don't really get mad, because I guess I just feel like some day they will be nicer about it all. Time brings perspective.}

I think my VBAC-road also played into that whole mind frame.
There are huge natural birth vs. medicated vs. c-section wars.
{The sad part of that is, the whole goal of those wars, is to bring about good birthing experiences for everyone --- but in reality it just hurts EVERYBODY's feelings at some point.}
So, having experience each of those birthing ways now, I have so much more compassion for every choice made by every birthing women out there.
I no longer can say just one way is right -- because they all work, and I've done them all.
I have no high horse.
I'm not sure I even have a horse at all.
And I think that extends into all of motherhood.
*Plus having to go down a less-than-standard road to get to my VBAC really gives me perspective on how our life circumstances play into how we choose to do thing, and a lot of that is not within our control. We only get to work with the cards we are dealt. And we can't fault people for that.

Abrupt subject re-direct...
Here's a sorta funny-to-me thought:
I can tell the babies at church who are first-babies apart from babies who are younger-sibblings pretty easily -- the younger-sibblings almost all (mine included) come to church in jammies. First babies almost always come to church in outfits. :)

So yeah,
I guess that goes to say, you lower your standards. And that is not a bad thing -- like I used to think it might be.
Like how my second baby (and a lot of other second babies I've known) don't have a "nursery" they just have a place to sleep. And that doesn't mean they are less loved. It just means their parents realized how the nursery was more for them than anyone else, and they don't need it now, and the baby won't even know they have personal space for quite some time. (But if your second baby has a nursery, I support that too -- I LOVE decorating. I would totally decorate another nursery, just don't have the space.)

With less perfection expected, I am much more able to enjoy.
Because, really, when is perfect ever attainable?
When is life happening?
Just going with it, is

in general, I've found adding a second baby not to big a deal -- hardship wise.
Love wise -- a very big and wonderful addition!


  1. "... if I were to have "earned" a baby during my pregnancy, I wouldn't have gotten this one..."

    I don't think you are giving yourself enough credit here. Just based on your blog I can tell that you worked so hard to learn and make everything throughout your pregnancy and birth go how you thought would be best. I've met people who spent a lot of time getting lost in google reading about the terrible/random things that could happen, but you actually learned and shared so many useful things! I think you deserve every bit of your amazing family.

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